The Yeldell Family (Through My Eyes)

{September 30, 2012}   The New Step in my Journey

I have gone through things in my life.  I have lost where I lived, been separated from my children, I have even been locked up.  But the current road that my journey is taking me on is more frightening than any of the things that I have gone through so far.  I will be joining my family church.   The church that has been a topic of  my blogs and as I learned the beginning of my entire family.  Now you may ask Donya, you can’t be serious about joining a church, your family church being scary?  My answer to you is I am more serious than you could every imagine.

While conducting my research I have gone through both mental and spiritual changes.  Mentally, and this may sound crazy to some, but I have connected with my ancestors.  I have heard them speak out to me and guide me into the direction that would be best to teach me and allow me to learn about them.  They have also taught me that GOD is the basis of who they are and in turn who I am.  Both new Yeldells (those I have met) and old Yeldells feel we are chosen people by GOD and I have been given the opportunity to learn why.  In my learning I have gotten closer and closer to him and because of that closeness the Devil has thrown more and more obstacles in my path.

Now what is frightening is the fact that I am able to recognize these obstacles and then see GOD move me around those same obstacles.  Most would say well since you can see it you shouldn’t be afraid of it.  But that is not true.  Everything that is coming at me is way bigger than me.  Way more than what I could ever be able to handle. And to see those things coming and knowing personally I can’t do anything about it, leaves me to do nothing but trust that a higher being, a force that is unseen get you through it and pass it.  That is what is scary.  I have learned the more I trust in him the more I WILL be attacked.  So yes joining a church is FRIGHTENING, and although I am afraid I am going to take that step.

I end this writing by thanking GOD.  Thanking him for the ability to understand what I need to understand and the courage to move forward in my journey blindly knowing you will not allow anything to harm me.  In JESUS the CHRIST name I pray.  AMEN.

Until next time…


{September 7, 2012}   Mamie Rearden 114

Normally when I do a post it is about my family.  Today’s post may or may not be about MY family (still checking on that) but it is definitely a post worth writing.   Mamie Rearden of Edgefield, SC turns 114 years old today.  This is important to me for several reasons.

1)  She is the oldest Living African American Woman in the United States

2)  She attends the same church as my grandparents when they lived in Edgefield and probably has family members that were founders of that church.

3) she went to school with my grandmother and finally

4) She is the same age as my grandmother would be if she was alive today.

I have a connection with her in so many ways but most importantly because she was the reason why my grandparents were honored in the Edgefield Advertiser in February of this year.  If you remember the story went something like this:

“I was watching the Today show and they were honoring people over the age of 100.  The name Mamie Rearden popped up.  She turned 113 years old on September 7, 2011.  She is from Edgefield, South Carolina and attends Springfield Baptist Church.  When I saw and heard that I lost it.  I stated how great it would be for me to get to talk with her.  She was born the same year (1898) as our grandmother the late Annie Mae Senior Yeldell.  I knew that if I could speak with her she could give me so much information on our family.  So I went to the internet and started to read about her.  I got names of her children and learned that she is of sound mind.  So I thought some more and decided to contact the African American genealogist library to see if there is any way I could speak with her.

Tonya Browder who is the head of the African American genealogist research library and my contact for all things Edgefield gave me the number to a reporter with an Edgefield paper.  She told me that if anyone could get me an interview with Mrs. Rearden it would be her.  So I contacted this reporter.  I explained to her who I was and what I would like to do.  I talked about how our grandparents were born there and migrated to DC as well as spoke about how they attended the same church as Mrs. Rearden while living in Edgefield.  I told her once they settled in the DC area they founded their own Springfield Baptist.  This woman thought that was a wonderful story and is placing an article about our grandparents and their children in the Edgefield Advertiser.  She wants pictures of the Grandma and Granddad, a picture of Springfield Baptist church in dc, a picture of the cornerstone with granddaddy’s name and the names of their children.  My mouth dropped to the ground.

She will be writing this article and placing it in the paper the first week of February for Black History month.  She told me that she would send me a copy once it is done I thought about waiting but I decided to share this with all of you now.  The article will be written by Suzanne Derrick editor and owner of the paper.  I have sent her all of the info that I have found on our family so far and will be in contact with her until the article is written.  If you have any input (pictures, little known facts etc.) outside of what I already know please pass it on to me so that I can forward it to her.  Oh yea and she is going to get me the interview with Ms. Rearden.”

It is because of the story listed above my connection to Mrs. Rearden has grown.  I am still trying to get to Edgefield to maybe get that interview.  But wishing her a Happy Birthday is the most I can do.
Until Next Time….

video of Mrs. Rearden at the age of 110

my mom and her cousins

It was by mistake how I met Ulysses Freeman.  I was calling Springfield Baptist church in Edgefield SC for possible records on my grandparents wedding and to see if there was a marker or headstone placed on the gravesite.  The secretary Dorothy Ryan (niece to our Aunt Essie Senior-Ryan but that’s another story) told me there were no records from weddings as early as 1913 but she directed me to Ulysses Freeman as far as learning about the gravesite.  So I called Ulysses and I told him what I wanted.  He said sure I can help you what were their names.  I told him my grandmother is Annie Mae Yeldell and my grandfather is Jefferson Davis Yeldell.  There was a pause and then he said “Jeff Yeldell my daddy had an uncle name Jeff Yeldell.”  Then I paused.  I asked him what was your father’s parents name” he said Mattie and Nathaniel Freeman.  I was shocked Mattie was my grandfather’s sister.

On November 19, 2011, I wrote on the blog about finding two of  my granddaddy’s siblings Mattie Yeldell-Freeman and Gary Yeldell.  Well on September 2, 2012 one year shy of writing that post the Yeldell’s of DC met our Aunt Mattie Freeman’s grandchildren.   We met her son Cleveland’s children Ulysses, Lutricia and Brenda.  This wasn’t the first time the Yeldell’s and the Freeman’s met.  As a matter of fact out of the five siblings granddaddy has Mattie’s children are the only other Yeldell’s that we have known before.  Peter, Katie and Oscar Freeman used to visit my mom and her siblings when my grandfather was still alive.  Katie even lived with the Yeldell’s of DC for a little while.

Its been 48 years since my grandfather died and my family lost contact with Peter, Katie and Oscar. So bringing that family back into our lives was definitely a blessing.  I don’t think Ulysses and I ever really talked about the grave site but I am sure we will because we have promised each other to never lose touch.   It was very brief but yesterday we met Ulysses and his wife Alberta, his two daughters Tonjua and Tamiya and Tamiya’s husband Charles Fisher.  We also met Ulysses sisters Brenda and her husband Charles Behlin and Lutricia.  New Yeldell’s that lived right here in the DC area that we didn’t know were in attendance as well.  Shirley Yeldell and her husband James and their daughter Pastor Charlene Ivey and her son James Ivey.

et cetera